Chinese Ambassador faced with Bath City Support for a Free Tibet
The Chinese Ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming , was met by a sizeable demonstration from Bath Tibet, Amnesty members and supporters when he arrived to give a speech at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute on May 17th.
During quite a rowdy question and answer session he was asked some very wide ranging questions, particularly concerning China’s policy in Tibet, the disappearance of the young Panchen Lama, allegedly abducted by Chinese state security, and the government’s tight control and censorship of the Internet.
The Ambassador became visibly agitated and told several members of the audience to “shut up”. He also warned Tibetan supporters in the audience that ” you will never succeed” in relation to Tibetan separatism.
Despite personal challenges on torture, extreme human rights abuses, and lack of freedoms from Tibetans in the audience, the Ambassador asserted that the 3 million Tibetans in Tibet were very happy.
The protest outside started at 6.30pm when people started to gather and get out their flags next to the boules match that was going on in the Square. Soon photographers were taking photos and the scene was ablaze of Tibetan colour. Suddenly 3 cars pulled up and the Ambassador got out and quickly entered via the museum entrance followed by Tibet supporters. One of his attendees got trapped outside as the door closed and had to be escorted into the main entrance.
There was no problem in getting in and we took our seats at the back. The event was delayed and it was clear that things were going on behind the scenes.
The Ambassador was giving the inaugural Lecture in the ‘World Affairs Through Our Eyes’ series that are organised by the BRLSI however, the speaker did not attend to the title and only provided a list of economic statistics about China’s continuing development. It was like listening to the news on Radio Albania in the 1970’s that listed the number of tractors that had been produced that week. There were very little ‘World Affairs’ other than the economic impact of China and how much Chinese tourists spend.
The Q&As began with the traditional front row question which nobody can remember. There was a question on BREXIT which he successfully dodged and then Alistair from Free Tibet made a strong statement on human rights and was eventually asked to leave. Then Sherab asked a question on the Panchen Lama whereabouts which was initially ignored but give the BRSLI its due credit the question was reiterated to the Ambassador and was still ignored. Sherab left the meeting together with some other Tibetans.
By this time the Ambassador was getting irritated and said that the Tibetan supporters would “…never succeed.” in relation to Tibetan separatism. Another questioner who asked about internet access in China, was told to “shut up”. The last question on the best and worst of European culture that China could learn from was also ignored.
At the end Sherab manages to pursue the Ambassador into his car which you can watch on facebook. Sherab is the hero of the evening